July 8, 2022 | Drug Crimes
If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, it is critical that you understand what this means and the potential penalties you may face. Your criminal defense lawyer can review the charges against you, explain what you are accused of, and discuss your legal rights.
What Is a Controlled Substance in Kentucky?
Like many other states, Kentucky divides controlled substances into different “schedules.”
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, substances are placed in schedules based on:
- Whether they have a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States
- Their potential for abuse
- Their likelihood of causing dependence
The schedules are:
Schedule I controlled substances do not have any currently accepted medical use in the United States. Additionally, they have a high potential for abuse.
Schedule I drugs include:
Schedule I drugs are considered the most serious, so possession of these drugs results in the most severe penalties.
Schedule II drugs have a high potential for abuse, which can result in physical and psychological dependence.
In Kentucky, Schedule II drugs include:
While Kentucky generally classifies drugs the same as federal law, there are exceptions.
Schedule III drugs include, among others:
- Anabolic steroids
- Morphine combination product not more than 50 mg
Drugs in this schedule may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.
Kentucky classifies other drugs as Schedule IV, including:
Substances in this category have a low potential for abuse.
Schedule V controlled substances have a low potential for abuse compared to the other schedules. Cough medications with codeine less than 200 mg are considered Schedule V controlled substances.
Penalties for Possession of a Controlled Substance in Kentucky
These offenses can be charged as:
- Class B misdemeanor – This offense has a maximum term of imprisonment of 45 days.
- Class A misdemeanor – The maximum term of imprisonment for this offense is 12 months.
- Class D felony – The maximum term of imprisonment for this offense is three years.
Additional penalties may apply if the defendant has previously been convicted of a drug-related offense.
Types of Possession of a Controlled Substance in Kentucky
There may be various types of possession of a controlled substance in Kentucky, including:
Actual possession means that a criminal defendant knowingly has direct physical control over a controlled substance.
For example, the defendant may have the drug:
- In their pocket
- In their hat
- In their shoe
- In their purse or wallet
- In a place where the defendant threw it to get rid of it
- In their car
- In their room
For actual possession cases, your criminal defense lawyer may try to attack how the drug was found, such as through an illegal search.
You can face drug charges even if you were not in actual possession of a drug.
Constructive possession applies when you:
- Mean to possess the drug
- Can exert dominion and control over the drug
The court can consider many factors to determine if you were in constructive possession of a drug, even if you were not the only person who had access or control over it.
These factors include:
- Whether the drug was in plain view
- The proximity of the drug to the defendant
- Where the drug was found
- Whether the defendant fled
- Whether the defendant admitted to possessing the drug
- Whether the defendant’s possessions were near the drug
A lawyer may try to argue that the drugs did not belong to the defendant and that the defendant was unaware of them in constructive possession cases.
Possession with the Intent to Distribute
Most possession cases are based on “simple possession.” In these cases, the defendant has a small amount of drugs, likely to use for their own consumption. In other cases, the defendant has such a large supply of drugs that it can be reasonably inferred that the defendant planned to distribute them. These cases often involve much steeper penalties and more extensive investigations.
Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney if You’ve Been Charged With Possession of a Controlled Substance in Kentucky
A possession charge can lead to jail time and other collateral consequences. An experienced criminal defense lawyer is familiar with possible defenses to these charges and can explain how they can help during a confidential consultation.
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #300-19
Lexington, KY 40507